"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'"

Luke 15:4-6

February 13, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day


When you truly love someone, you want to be with them as much as possible and miss them when you are not together. You have a bond that is not broken just because you are apart.

I have friendships where we don't get to see one another much, but when we are together we are able to pick right up where we left off and it's as if time and distance hasn't separated us.

Even though my sisters and I don't get to see one another as much as we would like and aren't able to spend a lot of time together like we wish we could, there is a bond between us that cannot be broken. We all know if we ever need anything or if we need someone, our sisters will be there. We've been there for one another all of our lives, through both good and tough times.

I still look forward to Jon's phone call each afternoon saying that he is on his way home from work. When he is running late, I'm disappointed because I'm eager to see him and want him here at home with me. There are times when Jon has to travel out of town for his job. Neither of us enjoy being apart and hate it when he has to be gone. I look forward to any calls or text or emails from him. The hours seem to drag by while he's gone.

When he calls from the airport and says that the plane has safely landed and he will be headed home as soon as he disembarks and gets to the car, I get excited. I look at the clock and figure out approximately what time he will be here. There is joy in knowing that my husband will soon be here at home with me.

There are times when Jon and I get on each others nerves! There are those occasions when we need our time alone; which to us means a couple hours or so. We don't always agree on everything and have differing opinions on things. Love doesn't mean that we become clones of one another and have the exact same thoughts and ideas, but it means that we sharpen one another and make the other person better.

Song of Solomon 8:6-7 says, "Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm. For love is as strong as death, its jealousy as enduring as the grave. Love flashes like fire, the brightest kind of flame. Many waters cannot quench love, nor can rivers drown it. If a man tried to buy love with all his wealth, his offer would be utterly scorned."

In chapter one of Song of Solomon, the Shulamite woman loves Solomon, but it is more of an infatuation. Her words are more about Solomon's appearance ("You are handsome, my beloved!"), how she can enticed him ("While the king is at his table, my spikenard (perfume) sends forth its fragrance."), and the beauty of her home ("The beams of our house are cedar, and our rafters are of fir."). I'm sure she is feeling very privileged and perhaps even a little prideful that the king belongs to her. She may even be feeling a tad arrogant that she was chosen to live in the palace as Solomon's bride.

But then as time goes by, her love for Solomon has grown into something very deep and awesome. Instead of feeling prideful that Solomon belongs to her, she feels very humbled that she belongs to him. Her love matured into something much stronger than infatuation and emotion.

That's as it should be between a husband and wife. The love that they have on their wedding day should not be the deepest, ultimate love that they will ever have for one another, but it should be something that grows and matures as their relationship develops. It should grow beyond the infatuation to something very deep-rooted and enduring.

Jon and I were in love and were committed enough to make a vow to one another on our wedding day, but that love has become more established and deeper rooted as the years have gone by. The majority of days have been filled with blessing, joy, and peace; but there have also been through disappointments, sorrows, financial hardships, and it hasn't always been that lovey-dovey emotional feeling where it's all sunshine and roses. But it's during those times of testing and difficulties that you see how committed you truly are and will either draw together and your relationship becomes deeper rooted, or else you will allow it to put a wedge between you and drive you apart.

There are times when you feel as if you are walking through the "valley of the shadow of death", but there is also the times when you "lie down in green pastures". What makes a strong relationship is when you choose to commit to make each step of the journey together and love and support one another, regardless what you may face.

I believe that's why we see the high divorce rates that we do today. When the emotion high and honeymoon period ends and the couple goes through difficulties and it becomes work, then the marriage ends. Perhaps their love never became deep-rooted and grounded enough to look beyond the "Your handsome", "Our house is pretty", "I can enchant you with my looks" stage.

So it is with the Christian life, too. At first we love the Lord because of all that He has done for us. But as we grow and mature in our relationship with God it is not "What can He do for me" as much as "What can I do for Him". Instead of it being all about us, it becomes more and more all about Him.

2 Corinthians 1:22 says, "And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, and who has also put His seal on us and given us His Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee."

In Song of Solomon, the Shulamite woman is speaking to Solomon and asks him to place her like a seal over his heart. In other words, she wants his heart to belong solely to her and her alone. She wants to be imprinted upon his life.

In 2 Corinthians the scripture says that God has put His seal on us. He has put His stamp upon us marking us as belonging solely to Him. God should be so imprinted upon us that everyone can see that we belong to Him.


Most plants take many years to grow deep roots. Many never do.

I've been told about trees in Louisiana that look huge and strong. But the soil is so fertile and so moist that the tree's roots don't need to grow more than a few feet deep to support the whole tree. But when a wind comes, the roots aren't deep enough to hold the tree down.

The same trees growing where there are dry seasons grow their roots deep to reach the water. And when the wind comes, they can withstand it.

To grow roses (and grapes, and probably many other plants) with strong, deep roots, you have to prune them heavily every year. A light trim doesn't seem to help much. You have to cut the plant back to a few main vines. Looking above the ground, it may look like you'd kill the plant. But below the surface, it gets stronger, and better able to handle draughts.


Cheesecake Filled Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Whole Strawberries

Philadelphia Ready-to-Eat Cheesecake Filling

Good Quality Dipping Chocolate

Carefully wash strawberries and pat dry with paper towels. Remove the stem from the berries. Using a small paring knife, core the center of each berry being careful to leave the bottom in tact. Fill a plastic baggie with the cheesecake filling. Fill each berry with cheesecake on top of berry with a pretty design. Line a small baking sheet with waxed paper. In a microwave safe bowl, melt dipping chocolate at 30-second intervals until chocolate is smooth and creamy. Dip each strawberry into chocolate, covering the bottom 3/4 of the berry. Lay on baking sheet. Fill a second plastic baggie with chocolate and drizzle over the berries in a pretty design. Chill in refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before service. Store in a sealed plastic container in the refrigerator.


The first holidays when you first begin dating someone can be somewhat awkward. You feel an obligation to buy a present, but don't really know what the other person will like.... and don't want to overspend, yet don't want to look like a cheapskate..... and not knowing what the other person will get you in return or how much they'll spend, it's hard to know what they will expect of you. I do have to say that guys have it a lot easier than gals do because they can always do the standard bouquet of flowers or box of chocolates for their date and get away with it, but most men aren't going to be too thrilled with receiving flowers or candy!

Jon and I had been dating for a month and a half when the first event that came up for us was my birthday. Jon was at a loss as to what to get me, so relied on my sister's advice. He took me out for a nice meal and bought me a turquoise beaded bracelet that matched a shirt that I wore at that time. He was nervous about giving it to me and handed me the gift bag. I opened the birthday card first -- only Jon had forgot to sign it!

Since we started dating in May, I didn't have to buy for Jon until his birthday in December, so I had a few months to get to know him. I can't remember for sure, but think I bought him some shirts. After seeing his "worn" t-shirts and the 2-3 dress shirts he owned, I knew that he needed clothes! Of course, after we got married I found out that he really doesn't like receiving clothing for a present.


"Love is patient"...... and some days it takes more patience than others!


We love you!

Loretta & Jon